The mantra of our economic policies

Fish farmers harvest their catch in this file photo

Fish farmers harvest their catch in this file photo

Pofela Ndzozi and Tedious Ncube
WE are eternal students of socio-economic transformation. We are burdened with the labour to practically unpack the theoretical framing of the political-economy in a bid to unlock maximum benefit of the good that innovation has to offer. To borrow from Plato’s theory of knowledge — economic beneficiation for socio-political growth is an essential element for human survival.

In an era that is so overwhelmed with efforts towards redefining the African in the development of Africa, the collective orientation of the citizenry cannot be over emphasised. As a concerned economic participant, you most certain to have recurring questions as to where have we missed the point as a country? Are all economic policies as bad as it would seem? What is the missing piece?

In the outcome of the post 1980 self-rule, Zimbabwe had decisively brought down the yoke of colonialism and its accrued shenanigans; whilst this is bonafide, the assignment of decoloniality remained deficient antecedently further decolonisation of the market. In the market archival augmentation of the so-called Rhodesian economies, the market was built on colonial premises meant to slender the global flow of wealth in Africa, widening the economic influx to the West along the imperially defined market channels. The discharge of wealth was intended to benefit the sordid colonial commandants.

Although trade seemed to be mutually beneficial, at best, it was a mirage – monopolised by the remnant imperialist dictates re-assigned into post-independent Zimbabwe’s political-economy, and Africa. In the year 2000 when Zimbabweans finally claimed the monopoly over state capital, that is when the apartheid nature of the market became visible for all. As the Government continued to Africanise the economy, detraction persistently accrued to the intended state function. Now for any empowerment to succeed there ought to be a corresponding economic policy framework, which Zimbabwe has adopted in its tenure of independence, this realisation of the notion of sustainable economic development has come under challenge due to the emergence of neo-liberal global regimes and their pro-market policies.

In a market predominantly monopolised by beneficiaries of colonialism, the empowerment of indigenous Africans is largely dependent on the municipal economic policy framework of any third world nation state. This explains the economic policy trajectory assumed by Zimbabwe of defying pro-neoliberal market determined policies, which service the historical disfranchisement of the African populace. This is the logical trajectory that the entirety of the “third-world” ought to adopt and embrace. Pro-people economic policies like the land reform programme, establishing Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and other economic empowerment mechanisms – namely mining and industrial indigenisation as it stands and Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, is going a longway in Zimbabwenising the economy. While it is of particular importance to have economic interaction in the region, which Zimbabwe is an active stakeholder, its rudimentary market is still in the process of decolonisation and Africanisation. In the quest of eradicating Western supremacy in Africa – which is a notion that has gained traction in this era, third world countries cannot ignore the mantra of localising the economy.

Maybe this may seem to beg the question: “How is the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 a decolonial market panacea?” Or, as many have in fact been asking: “Why are we so addicted to the dubbed decolonial process?’ It is the only future left to aspire to; one in/to which every human being becomes a market actor. Every field of activity is considered a market, every entity whether public or private, be it person, business, state or corporation is governed as a firm.

People themselves are cast as human capital and are subjected to market metrics ratings and rankings. Their value is determined speculatively in a futures market. Conclusively the task of decolonisation is incomplete without a supportive legislative framework to the creation of the local market aside from the colonially defined market indexes that perplexes Africans as incapable of handling their economic affairs.

Pro-people economic policies, as promoters of market institutions, must be enhanced. The total emancipation of African descendants is dependent on the muscle to ascertain the capability to produce to curb the dependency syndrome that has kept the third world in a chronic state of backwardness.

The colonial regimes had a very mixed record; but probably in all Sub-Saharan countries there was far more wage labour, and a lot more land sales, and a lot more people more deeply dependent on markets, by 1960 than there had been in 1890 or 1900. A final legacy of the colonial period has a rather unclear relationship to colonial policy, that is, the sustained growth of (total) population since 1918 has progressively transformed the factor ratios and, overall, increased the long-term economic potential of the continent.

The chant of decolonising the market for African emancipation will always seem romanticised as long as the participation of the biggest stakeholder (the ordinary African) is not active. The primary factor in this participation is their understanding of the economic policies purely on its merits. This point to the unquestionable role that the media and societal mentors have to play towards the utmost understanding of the policies by the public. It is self-sabotage to endeavour to always criticise and discredit policies religiously based on who or which party enacted them. Most of the criticism does not afford the policies the opportunity to prove themselves. The result is, a policy that is rejected by citizens before it is enacted, and that takes away the zeal and excitement that we need to champion our economy.

As a generation that seeks to own its means of production and develop in that direction, it is appalling that we are excited by a lengthy criticism of an economic statutory instrument before we put it on trial to attest its merit. Most of the policies that we can point to in this era have had more criticism than a simple explanation of their merit. Understanding the society in terms of the diffusion of innovation theory, one would understand the damage that the failure of the media in this regard, does to the acceptance of the policy by the biggest stakeholders: the early and late majority totalling to 68 percent of the population. Most of the people in this bracket will not bother following up on a policy in search of its raw explanation, but will take as religious truth what the media analysis says, of which most of that is negative.

As long as this pivotal group of citizens does not actively participate, economic development will always be a mirage. This calls more on the objectives of media houses and the merits of those “objectives” in the drive to emancipate the African populace. Is negative criticism, as opposed to constructive criticism, of every policy a narration that you intend to emancipate the people?

*Pofela Ndzozi is a Communications Specialist at Leaders for Africa Network. Tedious Ncube is a Political Science student at Midlands State University and an Associated Researcher at Leaders for Africa Network.
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